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Juvenile waiver decision upheld

State v. T.L.J., 2016AP1395, District 2, 3/8/2017 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

The circuit court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in granting the state’s petition to waive T.L.J. into adult court to face charges of armed robbery and operating a motor vehicle without owner’s consent.

As to the juvenile court’s exercise of discretion generally, the record demonstrates the court “meticulously considered” the required factors under § 938.18(5) in making its decision. (¶¶5-10). “The court’s decision precisely mirrors the statutory factors and was a reasonable one. It placed great weight on the number and seriousness of T.L.J.’s previous run-ins with the law, as well as his failure to respond in any meaningful way to previous juvenile services.” (¶11).

T.L.J.’s specific complaints are rejected, too. (¶4, 12).

  • He argues that most of the § 938.18(5) factors support keeping him in juvenile court; however, the weight to be afforded each factor rests solely in the discretion of the juvenile court, J.A.L. v. State, 162 Wis. 2d 940, 960, 471 N.W.2d 493 (1991).
  • He argues that the testimony of his juvenile probation agent and a social worker on which the juvenile court relied was “flawed” and based on “minimal contact” with him, so the juvenile court should have listened to his counselor, who recommended that T.L.J. remain in the juvenile system; however, deciding which witnesses to credit is up to the circuit court, Johnson v. Merta, 95 Wis. 2d 141, 151, 289 N.W.2d 813 (1980).
  • His argument that the juvenile court needed to find he had exhausted all available juvenile services was rejected in G.B.K. v. State, 126 Wis. 2d 253, 256, 376 N.W.2d 385 (Ct. App. 1985).
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